Valentine’s Day is over, but today, I have a treat for you.
Last month, Paige of The Pages of Paige, and I had a strategy and brainstorming conversation on how we can grow our readership and reach our blogging goals. Through our conversation, we noticed one thing we had in common. We both loved tuning into the blog, Damn Girl Get Your Shit Together each Thursday and reading unsolicited advice for shit that we didn’t even know we were doing wrong. We were impressed by her style and growing community and wanted to know how she did it.
Damn Girl Get Your Shit Together (DGGYST) is a lifestyle blog with content on everything from beauty hacks, money, health, and relationships. Within the first couple of sentences of reading one of her posts, you will be hooked. She’ll have you cackling in your office cubicle, nodding your head in agreement, or pausing to re-evaluate your life. She’s insightful, funny, and her tell-it-like-it-is approach to her posts makes her blog engaging.
Oh, and did I mention that this chick was kicking ass and taking names?
Her subscribers have grown quickly within her first few months of blogging. Her community, the DG Army, is full of other diverse and engaging bloggers from all over the world! She is a self-proclaimed community-builder who strongly believes in empowering other female bloggers.
In the fall of 2017, DGGYST launched a hilarious comic blog called Insomnia Girl. A blog that I find myself enthusiastically anticipating its updates each week. I even share the posts with my husband and we both share some good laughs.
She wrote a post on the importance of asking for what you need and the struggles women encounter when asking for our needs. So, I put on my big girl panties and did exactly that. I asked Paige to help me compile a list of questions that we had been dying to know about her and how she’s been able to grow the blog so quickly.
I am so happy she agreed to answer our questions! So, kick off your shoes and relax your feet. Read on below to hear from Tiara, the girl behind Damn Girl. Get Your Shit Together.
Tell us your story about how and why you started Damn Girl.
Growing up in the foster care system and on the streets, I took a very different path than my contemporaries. Its been a very painful experience to see the people that I love fall into the same lifestyle that they hated as children or teenagers, or even young adults. I started Damn Girl because I wanted a space to give the advice I wish I could. I absolutely don’t give unsolicited advice in real life, because among other things, it is ineffective. Damn Girl is a response to the pain that I have felt in not being able to help the people that I love.
You hinted in your post, “Eight Weeks Later” that you might have had another blog before this one. Please tell us about that blog.
Damn Girl is my first blog but I worked on it for almost a year before publishing.
The name of your blog and tagline – Unsolicited Advice for Shit You Didn’t Even Know You Were Doing Wrong – is brilliant. How did you decide on it?
I wanted people to know what they were getting into right from the start lol. My posts come from the heart but they are not sugar-coated, and I feel like my title and tagline are a constant reminder to stay true to my real voice.
Tell us about your creative process for creating blog posts for DGGYST. How is that creative process different from Insomnia Girl?
I post every Thursday, except for on holidays, and I take my inspiration from real life struggles that I have had, or that my friends and family are currently experiencing. Insomnia Girl is actually the contents of my bedside table notebook. I have been writing them down for years, and recently filled the entire notebook and thought “well, shit, why not see if anyone else finds this as ridiculous as I do”
Why did you create Insomnia Girl?
I have PTSD. I like to joke that all my crazy comes out at when I am asleep. I sleep walk anywhere from once a week to every night, and have found myself in a load of unsavory situations. I once woke up completely naked on a different floor of my apartment building with a toothbrush in my mouth. Insomnia Girl is a prep for my book on my experiences as an adult sleepwalker.
One of the things that drew me to you and your blog was your tone of voice, your insightful advice, and your accuracy! How did you develop your voice? Where does your insight come from?
You know before you post a comment on anything online and you stop and question how that makes you sound? Damn Girl is the absence of that little voice. It has been incredibly liberating to just say exactly what I mean, no double checking necessary. The Damn Girl readers make me feel understood because they accept me, exactly who I am, filter free.
The other thing I find admirable is that you’ve cultivated a community. Walk us through the networking strategies and other tactics employed to get such a large following.
I am an obsessive community builder. When I was 22 I had six of my friends buy a tri-plex apartment so that we would all know who are neighbors were, could split the downpayment, the bills, everything. My first car was a community car before zip car was a thing. I have a Costco group where we all buy the 6 pack of chickens, and the 100 pound bag of spinach and divy it up. I do meal prep with people on the same diet as me. I have been accused of being fiercely independent but thats not true, I have always felt that things can be accomplished best together. I have a very tribal nature. I have that same approach to Damn Girl. For every one hour I work on DG, I put in five hours of supporting other bloggers.
You are invested in your community, but you run two blogs. Tell us how you structure your day.
Because I had such a head start with DG and especially with Insomnia Girl, it free’s up a lot of time to do the networking. Preparation Preparation Preparation!
What is your overall vision for DGGYST? Your 2018 goal?
I would like for DG to continue to connect me with amazing writers who are on the same path as me. I eventually would like to use Damn Girl to promote a few of my projects. I am working on several books and want to ensure that they are received well.
Say you’ve met a young lady who has started her blog, but is having trouble finding her voice, her niche, and growing her readership. What would you tell her? What resources, classes, or websites would you refer her to?
This is such a great question and I’m glad you asked this one. My best advice for cultivating your voice to write exactly what you want to say first. Write a no holds bar of your message for every post, and then add in the details.
“On Writing” by Stephen King as one of the best books I have read that has helped with my writing. As far as growing your readership you have to find a small team of other bloggers to build you up. Find blogs that you admire, have a similar following, and connect with these people. Write them, follow them, promote them. We have this idea of a cut throat” “competitive” environment and that’s bullshit. It is our nature to want to reciprocate. I find that anyone featured in my sidebar are really on board with networking, promoting and supporting other blogs. But here are some awesome bloggers to get in contact with for community support.
- Tanya @ The Incurable Dreamer
- Lyz-Stephanie @ I Wanna Be A Lady
- The Witch @ The Cupcake Witch
- Tom @ Tom Being Tom
- Mind Over Meta @ Mind Over Meta Blog
- Grace @ How To Learn Your Twenties
- And of course you, Yaa Yaa @ Scribbles and Tostitos!
What advice do you have for bloggers who want to monetize their blog?
I would say first to get your head on straight. Wanting to earn some money doesn’t make you the devil. Bloggers work so hard and it is ok to get paid! That being said, start with an Amazon Affiliate account. Only promote products that you would tell your friends about in real life, that you use, and love. I think about these Produce Crisper things that I use, it makes my vegetables last like….5 days longer, and I consider it my duty and a public service to tell people about them! lol! You will find it easy to write compelling product suggestions when you feel genuine excitement about a product.
I struggle with how much of myself to share on my blog. How do you balance the art of revealing enough about yourself so you are relatable, but keeping some things to yourself in order to protect your privacy?
I was on the phone with one of my favorite bloggers, Lyz-Stephanie from I Wanna Be A Lady and we were talking about this just yesterday. I joked that I wasn’t going to put up a photo because I wasn’t sure people would want to take advice from “This nose” lol. I never wanted the blog to be about me, I wanted it to be a resource. I realized a few posts in that I could never be the effective resource I wanted to be, without qualifying myself. I try to do a ratio of 1 to 5 with my posts. one fifth about me, and the rest pure information.
Besides The Skinny Confidential, what other websites, books, podcasts, influencers and/or resources do you draw inspiration from?
What do you do for fun?
I am a professional ballroom dancer. Dance is a huge part of my life and I like to go out salsa and swing dancing several times a week. I have an awesome group of friends and we get together several times a week for poker nights, brunch, and we all cuddle up and watch “The Good Place” ( so good) every Thursday night. I also sew, read, paint and cook almost everyday to give my inner introvert her happy time.
DGGYST on Social Media: